Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Post by Prasadachitta »

mikenz66 wrote:And of course there is "transcendental dependent arising":

Hi Mike,

I read that thread and I don't know if this is the right place to bring this up. That thread was closed. I have always been interested in the Canki sutta http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html which has a sequence of positive conditions which give rise to a final discovery of Truth. It is a sequence of twelve dependent conditions which starts with conviction in a teacher and ends with striving which gives rise to "final attainment of the truth". I see this as another example of "transcendental dependent arising" or to put it another way, the conditional arising of a true refuge.

That makes it sort of on topic anyway.

May all be well

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Post by mikenz66 »

Hi Prasadachitta,

That's an excellent point, and a good example of a positive sutta.

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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Post by 5heaps »

m0rl0ck wrote:To me it seems pretty miraculous that the universe, consciousness, mind, whatever you want to call the world, arises spontaneously, it all its fullness, out of "nothing" every instant. I suppose to see the arising is also to see the passing, but does it seem to anyone else that there is an emphasis on the negative?
no, but then i have good teachers. only bad teachers teach the truth of suffering and the truth of the causes of suffering, without knowing how these enable the other 2 truths.

when one realizes subtle impermanence this does nothing but induce lucidity and certainty about the future, because there is explicit knowledge that your future depends on mental causes and conditions which you can accumulate, and nothing else.
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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Post by Spiny Norman »

kirk5a wrote:I think because we are already fixated upon (clinging to) all the arisings. So the passing, ceasing, requires emphasis.
Yes, I think that's a good way of putting it, hence the focus on anicca in the teachings.
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Re: Why the emphasis on voidness and passing away?

Post by nem »

m0rl0ck wrote:I seem to sense an emphasis on the negative in alot of buddhism. The emphasis on voidness and impermanence and things passing away.... does it seem to anyone else that there is an emphasis on the negative?
I suggest the book "I give you my life" by Ayya Khema. There are concrete real life examples in her life story, of the three marks of existence. For this reason, after surviving the holocaust, 2 marriages and 2 children, living and travelling the world as a nomad in both poverty and riches, she saw the relevance of the concept of the voidness of all that, took ordination, and spend the rest of her life in the robes back in in Germany, the same place she had to flee for her life as an adolescent. Really, after all the luck, tragedy, love, adventure and knowing the world, she realized it was all the same arising and passing without any self going anywhere.

I'm not sure whether voidness is positive or negative. Without the arising, there is no possibility of passing away. That is nibbana in my understanding, where you do not sense arising as positive and ceasing as negative. It just IS. For example, I recently had a tremendous love in my life who I would instantly die for, and saw her walk away cold and I cannot get her back no matter how hard that I try, I could die today and probably she does not care because She emotionally insulated herself from the possibility of being with me because she has some professional goals in the world that she cannot achieve if she is with me, and she only sees the world in terms of goals and what she can be or do. Needless to say, she doesn't subscribe to the Buddha's idea of no-self, and is very determined that she has a self that needs to accomplish something and won't be held back by anyone else, or care about the consqeuences. If I die today, she would probably not care because she moved on toward the big goal and has that nice idea that if we try hard enough, if we throw away everything except the goal, we can achieve anything!!!!!!!! But lacking skillful means or clear comprehension. I tried to explain to her, that when she arrive to the goal, then what's the next goal? It's never enough, if we chase one thing and get that, we need to chase another thing. So she couldn't understand the emptiness of her professional goals, and I tried to take my own advice and accept the emptiness of chasing her. Because once I achieved marriage with her, it would probably be unsatisfactory too, even though I passed through hell to get there. :jumping:

These experiences, I am trying to not see the passing away of this love phenomenon or any other mental object as negative. If I did, I'd have already killed myself a long time ago, because I actually had divorced, with children in the house, to marry this lost woman who is in most aspects amazing except her irritating professional goals, and then she walked away as if I do not exist, leaving "me" totally alone in the world. But I took the high ground of the Buddha, realizing there is no negative and positive and any idea like that is delusion. It merely teaches me, that the next time that I think that I love a woman, I have to remember the emptiness of that, it's not satisfactory to cling to, impermanent and there is no me to engage in this delusion. If I feel love for another woman someday, I will sense the love arising and remember this experience and what it is, delusion of permanence, and at the same moment the love arises, I have to accept that idea that it could leave the next moment because it's dhukka and annica. Delusion that there is some me, who is loving and being loved. I was lucky to have been burned and survived, but now I can see I was setting myself up from the start to be burned by clinging to these ideas that it was something else, and having such a positive idea of arising. The arising and falling are the same thing, when it comes, we have to know that it's already gone. So, using my example, sometimes we have something great like love, but it's dead when it arises because it's based on conditions, it's impermanent, and the person giving it is impermanent and unstable. We can't base our happiness, in "happy arising things" like love or possessions or people liking us. Because they can fall away in an instant, leaving you with only a WTF??!!, chronic paralyzing depression, and nothing else. Not worth the time, better to focus on the Buddha and what he did.

Now days, I recite the 5 recollections every morning to remember this. They are mainly about the "negative aspects", ceasing, but teach us to accept that, sometimes life just sucks, and if it doesn't suck now, prepare for the idea of it sucking and don't be surprised, because all the good and bad is going to balance out, it can't stay good forever, and we can't be crushed or surprised by it :

“I am of the nature to decay” [doing this every day and we can see it over a few years]
“I am of the nature to get sick” [I get sick sometimes, this is obvious]
“I am of the nature to die” [100% chance of that!]
“All that is mine, beloved and dear to me, will one day leave me”
“I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, abide supported by my kamma, if I do good I receive good, if I do bad I receive bad” [Also, demonstrated in my personal life]
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